Thursday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for White Sox vs. Athletics: Chicago Looking to Feast Against Sean Manaea (Sept. 9)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. Pictured: Luis Robert, Yasmani Grandal and Gavin Sheets
- The White Sox and Athletics square off in the series finale Thursday afternoon in Oakland.
- Reynaldo Lopez takes the mound for Chicago against Oakland's Sean Manaea.
- D.J. James breaks down the matchup below and makes his betting pick.
White Sox vs. Athletics Odds
|White Sox Odds||+115|
|Time||3:37 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
The Oakland A’s host the Chicago White Sox in the final game of a four-game set on the West Coast in this matchup.
Reynaldo López, who recently entered the starting rotation because of the injured list stints of Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito and Carlos Rodón, faces Sean Manaea (another lefty).
The White Sox have been able to hit left-handed pitching all season, so let’s dive into if they have the advantage in this one, yet again.
López, Chicago Offense Sitting in Good Spot
López’s fortunes have changed drastically since getting Lasik surgery earlier this year. Last season, the right-hander posted a 6.49 ERA and 6.20 xERA. Since joining the major-league team in mid-July, he has posted a 2.08 ERA and 3.11 xERA.
López is only allowing a hard hit average of 35.1% and an average exit velocity of 89 mph, which is down 2.1 mph from last season. His worst start was his last in Kansas City, where he only threw four innings and allowed three runs, but this looks to be an outlier. He’s shaved nearly seven points off of his walk percentage, so he is clearly working in the zone more easily.
Oakland has thrived off of right-handed pitchers since the beginning of August, but not necessarily against velocity, which López brings with an average fastball of 96 mph. The A’s only have a .284 xwOBA against four-seam fastballs at that speed.
The White Sox offense has been among the best in baseball all season long. It ranks third since August 1 in wRC+ against lefties at 129. Sure, their spark, Tim Anderson, is sidelined, but José Abreu, Luis Robert, Andrew Vaughn, Yasmani Grandal and Leury García have demolished lefties in that same timeframe. In fact, César Hernández is hitting lefties better than righties this year, as well. The White Sox have very few, if any, holes in the lineup when facing a southpaw.
The White Sox bullpen has been a thorn in their side for much of the season, even with the acquisitions of Ryan Tepera and Craig Kimbrel. The unit ranks 18th in WPA, but eighth in fWAR from the bullpen. This basically says they have the talent but have not exactly executed. However, Tepera has been pretty solid, and Liam Hendriks has gotten pretty unlucky with a 4.30 ERA and 2.25 xFIP since August 1.
Michael Kopech has had his own bad luck with a 9.26 ERA and 3.41 xFIP. Kimbrel is in the same situation at a 6.23 ERA and 3.14 xFIP. Sure, some of these guys should have fantastic numbers, but eventually bad luck should run out.
Oakland Needs Big Outing From Manaea
Manaea has to execute against the lefty-throttling machine that is the White Sox lineup. Unfortunately, he ranks in the 19th percentile in average exit velocity and the 25th percentile in hard-hit percentage. Manaea also throws primarily sinkers (59.2% of the time). The White Sox have a .340 xwOBA against that pitch and a .357 xwOBA on sinkers between 90 and 94 mph.
Oakland has hit righties well, though. The A’s rank second in all of baseball at 118 wRC+ since the beginning of August. They have eight regulars who can mash righties. That said, they struggle with high velocity pitching, so López should be able to negate some of their recent success.
Oakland’s bullpen is a tad top-heavy and A.J. Puk, Daulton Jeffries, Jake Diekman and Deolis Guerra all threw after a short night from James Kaprielian on Tuesday night.
Andrew Chafin should be good to go, but after those names, it falls off sharply. If Manaea gets knocked around, the A’s do not have enough artillery to cover five-plus innings of work in relief.
White Sox-Athletics Pick
The White Sox have a clear edge with the starting pitcher. López’s fastball should take a few A’s hitters out of contention in this game, and the Sox should hit Manaea hard. Take the White Sox moneyline at +115 and play to -120. They should be short favorites in this one.
Pick: Chicago White Sox +115, play to -120